September 15-30, 2004 Edition

Barnes & Noble

Publishing Hits

Bestseller List

NEW YORK, NY/09/13/04—Barnes & Noble Publishing has hit The New York Times Bestseller list with a coffee table book titled, Hippie, by Barry Miles. The book, which covers the cultural and social unrest of the 1960s, makes its debut as No. 12 on the nonfiction list.

It is the first time the well-known bookseller has had a bestseller, after expanding its business into publishing, a move that sent waves of uneasiness throughout the publishing industry.

Another title certain to fly off the shelves is The 9/11 Commission Report, which Barnes & Noble is selling at half the price of the hardcover edition published by Norton.

The company, with revenues of $4.4 billion last year, plans to make sales of its own publications reach 10 percent of its bookstore income.

The huge bookstore chain’s publishing unit is expected to make publishing houses, their biggest suppliers, unhappy. Barnes & Noble CEO Steve Riggio has said in a variety of media reports that he doesn’t agree that his company is taking sales from other publishers, but says the company is simply getting better at what it is doing.

Barnes & Noble bought Sterling Publishing, a New York-based reference and craft book publisher for $115 million last year. As both the publisher and bookseller, B&N earns a substantially higher profit margin than buying from other publishers.

A number of book stores have opposed the Sterling move, and some, including Borders, have stopped buying titles from the Sterling unit (Barnes & Noble Publishing), because they view the practice as purchasing from their own competitor.

Barnes & Noble Publishers has already produced more than 700 titles of its own, and is generally close-mouthed about future releases, unlike most publishers, who tout their new releases months in advance.